UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 15: Matt Moulson #26 of the New York Islanders is stopped by goaltender Henrik Lundqvist #30 and forward Brian Boyle #22 of the New York Rangers at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 15, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Rangers 4-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Before I get into this article, I want to give you all a disclaimer. While it's still not the time to panic, and it's certianly not the time to start demanding John Tortorella's head; this team has not played well the past three games. It's unacceptable to go to 0-for-13 on the power play in three games, and it's alarming to see the team come out flat in the first three games of the year.
With that being said, there are some things to remember. For starters, the Rangers were without Marc Staal and Mike Sauer in yesterday's loss. Staal is obviously the top defenseman on the team, and Sauer is easily a top-four defenseman on this team, and the number three guy in my opinion.
That's a lot of defense to be missing, especially when a team takes eight penalties in a game. Yes, the New York Rangers need to cut back the penalties before they take on the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. Regardless of whether or not you consider Sauer a third our fourth defenseman on this team, he's one of the main pillars of the penalty kill, and his loss was visible in Saturday's defeat.
Join me after the jump for more.
Now, onto a subject I can't believe we're talking about three games into the season. Tortorella is not going anywhere. Three games of flat hockey is no reason to call for his head. No, the Rangers have not gotten off to the start they wanted to, but firing Tortorella now would only throw the team into a chaos they simply don't need.
Yes, there are major issues to work out, but we're exactly 3.6% of the way through the year. Calling the season a busy already is ridiculous.
Now, the reality of the situation is that Staal isn't going to be coming back anytime soon. At best, Staal is still a couple of weeks away, and the Rangers need to find some stability on the back end with him gone. I understand that it's difficult when the team is missing both Sauer and Staal, but great teams find a way around those obstacles and the Rangers haven't yet.
Scoring is also an issue, but it's only been three games. It's going to take time for Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards to gain chemistry, although the two have shown flashes of brilliance with each other already. Richards has assisted both of Gaborik's goals, and he's been getting Gaborik the puck in open areas of the ice. This portion of the offense was always going to take time, the hope was just to get a few wins in the process.
Basically, I'm remind those of you smashing the panic button like it's going out of style that it's only been three games. Yes, it's incredibly frustrating to watch the Rangers come out flat three games in a row, start the season with no wins and lose to the Islanders. But it's been three games. Just three. There's 78 games left in this season.
Things will get better, even though they're rocky right now.